Cool & Smart & Friend

Cool & Smart & Friend
Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Trades Hall, The Meeting Room. 31st March – 7th April 2024

Improvised theatre is a hit and miss affair and anyone heading off to an improvised show needs to be prepared for both heady heights of verbal and physical gymnastics and drear silences and stuck narratives. Therein lies its charm.

The company including Barney Pollock, Matt Young, Matt Jenner, Broni Lisle, Taylor Griffiths and guest Nick White mostly inhabited the heights! The narrative was established at the beginning of the show during a chat with the audience. The action is carefully structured so there is a constant change over of actors and a chance to refresh the focus of the action. There were ongoing characters whose stories developed during the show and quite a few verbal slam dunks which delighted the audience.

Several of the actors have worked for years in improvised theatre including a three-year residency at The Improv Conspiracy, and their experience showed. They mostly avoided the usual ‘go to’ elements of sex and violence. By contrast they were stuck sometimes because the actors weren’t doing enough to drive their narrative along. This was well managed by others in the company coming to the rescue and changing the focus.

The technical work by Simon McCulloch ensured the actors were supported by the lighting changes as needed.

Flying by the seat of your pants is a skill developed in the theatrical cauldron of a sea of faces looking expectantly at you and it is not for the timid.  This company has bravely grasped the chance to soar.

Ruth Richter

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